GUP2 (Chameleon) Application instructions

Chameleon Application requirements.

Applications will be limited to one page of text and one page of supporting data and figures. Key personnel named in the application must also submit an NIH Biosketch ( To download an application guide click here.

This initial cycle will support an early access program for use of the commercialized version of Spotiton: Chameleon. Researchers will be required to show cryoEM data of the current condition of the sample and justify how Chameleon use would assist. There are three (3) types of general use proposals:

  • GUP1 (Krios): Data Collection
    Access for experienced users with pre-screened cryoEM samples in need of high-end instrument cryoEM time. For more information go here and to apply for this category of access go here.
  • GUP2 (Chameleon): Chameleon access
    Access for blot free vitrification with the intent of a follow on high-end instrumentation session. Use of Chameleon needs to be justified.
  • GUP3 (GPS): Sample preparation and screening
    Access for users in need of staff-assisted sample preparation and screening resources. The preliminary data and grids may then be used to apply for GUP1 Data Collection Access or GUP2 for Chameleon access. For more information go here and to apply for this category of access go here.


Accepted NCCAT users (and their PI’s if applicable) are required to sign a written agreement that they will comply with all NIH data sharing, reporting and publication policies. The written agreement will also outline other requirements and policies for NCCAT access so as to manage expectations as transparently as possible.

Application process

The General User Proposal 2 (GUPs) is intended for Chameleon access. We have a quarterly call for applications, reviewed and ranked by a User Review Committee (URC), which is a peer review committee. Projects requiring multiple rounds and more than one session will be given extra scrutiny and will have to meet a high standard for preliminary data.

Users proposals are scored in the following categories: (i) Aims & Impact; (ii) Feasibility & Data; (iii) Proposed Experiments; (iv) Goals & Expectations; (v) Expertise & Resources. The URC will score these aspects on a scale of 1-5 and also have the option to provide additional comments.

A request for access proposal will expire in three (3) cycles or when the requested amount of time recommended by peer review has been used, whichever comes first. General user projects or applications will expire in two (2) years. After that point users will have to submit a new project to submit an additional request for access applications/proposals against.

The content of the proposal will be kept confidential by the reviewer or relevant committees. A user may specify individuals that pose a potential conflict and exclude them from the external review committee.

Categories for review

The user review committee (URC) will score with respect to five (5) different categories.
(i) Aims & Impact: The specific objectives of your project. Include the scientific and technological importance of your project.
(ii) Feasibility & Data: Information and preliminary data for the samples associated with this proposal that impact feasibility of cryo-EM studies.
(iii) Proposed Experiments: The work to be conducted at the national center during the awarded project period.
(iv) Goals & Expectations: The goals for the project.
(v) Expertise & Resources: The team’s expertise in CryoEM sample preparation, microscope operation, and data interpretation, as well as the available cryoEM and/or computational resources that your team has access to.

Note: Geographical diversity, need for access by under-served or under-represented institutions, the extent of requested support, and other options available to the users or the trainees, will be taken into account in setting priorities.

These scores will be combined and averaged for a final proposal score from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

Possible scores

Scores are on a scale from 1 (excellent) to 5 (poor).

Score Title Description
1 Excellent Highly innovative research of great scientific or technological importance. Access to NCCAT is integral to the success of the work.
2 Good High quality research with the potential for making an important contribution to a specific field, scientific discipline, or technical development project. Use of NCCAT resources is important to a successful outcome of the work.
3 Satisfactory Interesting research likely to produce results or incremental technological advances. The work will benefit from access to NCCAT.
4 Needs improvement Research may not significantly impact a specific field, scientific discipline, or technological area. Proposed work would also be able to be completed in other facilities including the home institution of the user.
5 Poor / Unsatisfactory Not well-planned or not feasible. The need for use of a national center is not clear.
NR No Review Insufficient information to base a review.
Note: Scored proposals that have not been assigned time will automatically be forwarded to the next cycle.